Pictures from the Past

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BENTON was considered an area of some prosperity, as during the 18th and 19th centuries, it was home to several mansions built by wealthy colliery and ship owners, including Benton Lodge, Benton Grange, Forest Hall, Benton Park, Killingworth House and Benton House.

The rural surroundings and the comparative isolation of the village from the industrial town of Wallsend must have been a deciding factor that contributed to the desirability of living there.

Benton House was built in 1740, and for many years was the seat of a prominent local family, the Bigges, after whom a former colliery village and pit were named – Bigges Main.

William Bigge was High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1750, as were later descendants .

His son, Thomas Charles Bigge, was born in 1739 at Benton House, as was his, son, Charles William Bigge, in 1802.

The village is now long gone, but is still remembered for the Mason’s Arms public house which was such a prominent feature of this small village. Wallsend golf course now covers this area.

Benton House was situated just off Front Street, opposite the Ship Inn and Black Bull Inn. It stood two storeys high and was built of sandstone ashlar, with a Lakeland slate roof, and stood in quite extensive grounds.

In 1908, the premises were taken over by a golf club which later closed, and the land became developed for housing and a local university campus and sports field.

In later years the house became a Conservative social club.

Anyone with further information can contact Local Studies on (0191) 643 5270 or e-mail local.studies@northtyneside.gov.uk